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Updated November 2021
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for Best potholders

Staying safe in the kitchen means having the right tools and accessories to protect you and your household from injury. When handling hot pots and pans, you should always protect your hands from the heat with high-quality potholders.

Potholders are designed to prevent burns by serving as a barrier between your skin and hot cookware. They’re made of heat-resistant materials like fabric or silicone and are large enough to cover a hand. Depending on the size and weight of your cookware, you might need to use two at a time, one for each hand. They can also help you get a better grip on wet handles.

If you’re looking for durable, high-quality potholders, you’ll want to identify the style, material, size, and other features that will work best in your kitchen. These kitchen necessities aren’t expensive, so you might want to get several so you always have two available if others are in the wash.

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While potholders are available in many colors and designs, remember that appearance is a secondary concern. It’s more important that they effectively protect your hands from heat than they match your kitchen décor. 

Key considerations

Potholders vs. oven mitts

When handling hot cookware, you have a couple of options to protect yourself from getting burned. 

Potholders are a popular choice because they’re small. Most are a simple square or round shape that you can wrap around the handle of a hot pot or pan to carry it safely. In addition, they’re easy to store and work well for manipulating small items because they allow for precise movements. Some potholders offer additional functions to make them more versatile in your kitchen. They can double as trivets to protect counters and tables.

Oven mitts serve a similar purpose. As the name implies, these have a mitten-like shape, so you place your whole hand inside to handle pots and pans safely. Unlike potholders, oven mitts protect both sides of your hand. However, they can be pretty bulky, which can make storing them more difficult. It’s also harder to perform tasks that need more precision, like removing a pot lid, while wearing an oven mitt. 

Material

Potholders are available in several materials. 

Fabric: Many traditional ones are made of fabric, usually cotton, and you can find many quilted and terry cloth options. A polyester/cotton blend is another popular material. Cotton potholders are usually the most comfortable to use, but they’re not as durable as other materials and can be more difficult to clean.

Silicone: In recent years, silicone has gained in popularity. Silicone is an effective material because it’s waterproof and offers an excellent nonslip grip on pots and pans. It’s also extremely durable and can last for years. Silicon isn’t as comfortable to hold as cotton, but you can find silicone potholders lined with cotton for greater comfort.

Aramids: You can also find options made of aramid fibers like Kevlar or Twaron. These are synthetic materials that are extremely heat resistant and durable. 

Neoprene: This is also used for some potholders, but it tends to have a strong odor and may melt if exposed to very high temperatures. 

Size

Potholders should be large enough to comfortably wrap around the handles of your pots and pans so you can safely maneuver them around your kitchen. The width is important, so look for options that are about 7 inches wide for the most effective coverage.

Quantity

Most potholders come in sets of at least two, but you can find larger sets that offer as many as five. Some sets contain all one size, while others offer a few different sizes. Some potholders are sold individually, and these are usually handmade or oversize specialty models.

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Staff Tip
When choosing silicone potholders, look for those that are food grade and BPA-free. That prevents toxic chemicals from leaching into your food if the potholder accidentally comes into contact with it. 
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Potholder features

Heat resistance

All potholders are designed to protect the hands when handling hot cookware, but some are more heat resistant than others. In most cases, you need one that can protect your hand from temperatures of about 400°F for at least 10 seconds when handling heavy cookware. 

Most cotton models can withstand temperatures of 400°F to 500°F, but terry cloth is only heat resistant between 300°F and 450°F. 

Aramid fibers can withstand up to 500°F but only for 30 seconds at a time. 

Silicone typically provides the greatest heat resistance, withstanding temperatures of up to 650°F.

Maintenance

Potholders can get dirty since you’re using them to handle bubbling pots and splattering skillets. You’ll want to follow the care instructions that come with yours. Most cloth models are machine washable, so you can toss them in with your laundry. Aramid options might be machine washable or need to be hand-washed. Many silicone models are dishwasher safe, allowing you to wash them with your dishes and cookware. Silicone can also be wiped clean.  

Loop

Many potholders have a loop or hole in a corner or in the middle of one edge to make it easy to hang them from a hook or cabinet handle, so they’re always within reach when you need to move a dish from the oven. Hanging them up also frees space in your kitchen drawers. 

Colors and patterns

These kitchen necessities are available in a broad range of colors, so you can find nearly any shade to match the rest of your kitchen décor. Plenty of them have patterns or graphic designs if you want to add a fun touch to your kitchen. 

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For Your Safety
If your potholders look old and worn, replace them right away. You can get burned in a matter of seconds if the material is too thin to protect your hands. 
Staff
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Accessories

Oven mitts: HOMEWE Oven Mitts

It helps to have a pair of oven mitts when you need more protection. These silicone mitts are a favorite because they have a quilted cotton lining for greater comfort and are heat resistant up to 450°F.

Oven gloves: Jolly Green Products Ekogrips Oven Gloves

If you need more maneuverability and precision when taking dishes out of the oven, oven gloves might be your best option. We like these silicone gloves from Jolly Green Products because they are long enough to protect your wrists, dishwasher safe for easy cleaning, and heat resistant to 425°F. 

Trivet: Anna Stay Trivetrunner

To protect your countertops and dining table from hot dishes and cookware, you need high-quality trivets. We love this new take on traditional trivets because it’s large enough to span the length of your table, heat resistant up to 300°F, and comes in multiple colors. 

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Staff Tip
Silicone potholders will outlast cloth styles, so they might be a better investment in the long run, even though they cost more initially.
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Pricing

Most potholders cost between $1 and $15 each, but they can vary in price based on the material, size, and heat resistance. 

Inexpensive: The most affordable options are made of cloth. They can be pure cotton, including terry cloth, cotton/polyester blends, and other fabrics, and usually have a heat resistance of up to 400°F. You’ll typically pay between $1 and $3 each for these.

Mid-range: These are usually made of highly durable silicone and have a heat resistance of up to 650°F. You’ll generally pay between $2 and $7 each for these. 

Expensive: The most expensive options are made of neoprene or aramid fibers. Most have a heat resistance of at least 500°F and are the most durable options you can find. You’ll typically pay between $5 and $15 each for these.

Tips

  • Examine your potholders for any signs of damage or scorching. If the material has thinned in any areas, it won’t provide the protection against heat that you need, which means you could get burned.
  • Never use wet potholders to hold hot cookware. The moisture in the material can scald your skin.
  • Be careful using a towel as a potholder. It can be tricky because you have to make sure that you fold the towel correctly. Otherwise, you could get burned or the towel could catch on fire. 
     
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f you have weakness in your hands and need help getting an effective hold on hot pots and pans, silicone provides the best grip.

FAQ

Q. How many potholders do I need?

A. You’ll probably want at least four. If you’re removing large baking dishes from the oven, you need one for each hand. Having four means you’ll always have a clean pair ready to use if two are in the laundry.

Some people also like to mix and match materials, so you might want a couple made of cloth, a couple made of silicone, and a couple made of aramid fibers. You can also find them in fun seasonal and holiday patterns, so you might want a set decorated with snowmen for the winter or pumpkins for autumn. 

Q. Do potholders provide any other benefits beyond heat resistance? 

A. While their primary purpose is to protect your hands from hot cookware, they can come in handy in other ways in the kitchen. For example, they can help you get a better grip on other items, such as opening a jar with a stuck lid. Some can also double as trivets for use under hot pans or dishes.

Q. Are homemade potholders effective? 

A. If you like to sew, knit, or crochet, you can make your own potholders to use in your kitchen. However, it’s essential to use the right fabric and create a tight enough weave to provide adequate protection. It’s also a good idea to add a layer of heat-resistant batting to protect your hands.

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